Jacques Marquette—Louis Jolliet Monument, 1926
Hermon Atkins MacNeil
24th and Marshall Boulevards, one block west of California Avenue
Commissioned by the B. F. Ferguson Fund, this monument is intended to memorialize the site where two French explorers, Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette (1645-1675) and trader Louis Jolliet (1645-c.1700), accompanied by an Algonquin Indian guide, realized that a canal could link the entire Great Lakes system with the Mississippi watershed. During the summer of 1673, Marquette and Jolliet made their historic voyage to the Indian portage (wetland) between the Des Plaines River and the south branch of the Chicago River.
The Beaux-Arts trained sculptor Hermon A. MacNeil created statues for the Electricity Building at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and, soon after, received a commission to decorate the Marquette Building. His four bronze narrative panels depicting the travels of Marquette and Jolliet may be found above the elaborate bronze doors on the Dearborn Street side.